“Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”
I was sitting in the opening keynote address at Blissdom. The moment the speaker said it I felt as if I’d been punched in the gut. Tears immediately sprung to my eyes. It was, as Oprah would say, an “a ha” moment.
I do it ALL. THE. TIME.
I see a beautiful photo and suddenly my photos seem average or even ugly. I read an inspiring post and suddenly my newest post seems lame. I see someone else's success and suddenly feel like a failure.
Hearing Jon Acuff put into words why that behavior is so destructive was empowering. Of course, it makes no sense to compare myself to women who have been at this for years. Women who have struggled with their self-doubt. Women who have conquered their fears and trusted themselves to succeed.
I wasn't home more than 48 hours and found myself back in that space. Clicking through blog after beautiful blog and thinking "I will never be this good." I tried to talk myself down. "They have been at this longer!" I told myself. And that's when I realized what I was really afraid of.
My real fear is that I'm too late to succeed in this space. All the great things have already been said. All the great ideas explored. All the great names taken. There is no room for me.
That's right. I think the INTERNET - perhaps the closest we get to infinite in our daily lives - is all used up. Step right up for the Golden Age of Internet folks! It won't last long!
This is particularly ridiculous when you consider the infiniteness is what I find most empowering. I don't have to fight for pages in a magazine or text on a page. There is always room here.
And what if it has been said before? It wasn't said by me and perhaps not seen by you. So somehow I have to find that balance. I have to learn to be inspired by others and not intimidated. I have to silence those voices of doubt or at least give them a hug and tell them to hush up for now.
I have to keep writing and taking pictures and growing because I want to be better - not because I'm afraid I'm not good enough.
~ Sarah Stewart Holland